How Do Kids Get Autism?

Research suggests that autism develops from a combination of genetic and nongenetic, or environmental, influences.

These influences appear to increase the risk that a child will develop autism.

What causes autism in a child?

Genetics. Several different genes appear to be involved in autism spectrum disorder. For some children, autism spectrum disorder can be associated with a genetic disorder, such as Rett syndrome or fragile X syndrome. For other children, genetic changes (mutations) may increase the risk of autism spectrum disorder.

What is causing autism?

Prenatal viral infection has been called the principal non-genetic cause of autism. Prenatal exposure to rubella or cytomegalovirus activates the mother’s immune response and may greatly increase the risk for autism in mice. Congenital rubella syndrome is the most convincing environmental cause of autism.

How can you prevent your child from getting autism?

While you can’t prevent having a child with an autistic disorder, you can increase your odds of having a healthy baby by doing these lifestyle changes: Live healthy. Have regular check-ups, eat well-balanced meals, and exercise. Make sure you have good prenatal care, and take all recommended vitamins and supplements.

Is autism hereditary?

Autism has a strong genetic basis, although the genetics of autism is complex and it is unclear whether autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is explained more by multigene interactions or by rare mutations with major effects.